Chris and I had an interesting conversation the other day that I wanted to put down on paper (or into the blog world I guess!). He met a guy who attends another church in town. In the course of their conversation this guy very openly stated that he attends this other church only for the 'worship.' This statement got us both to thinking about what he was referring to and whether or not this is a very Biblical reason to attend any one church.
By 'worship' we were pretty sure this individual was referring to the music. Musical worship is a part of most religious services, no matter what faith they represent. For Christians though, probably particularly evangelical Christians, it seems that music has become of great importance and this guy's statement reflected that, and saddened us. Chris and I see in God's Word that the ultimate act of worship for the Christian is obedience to God's Word, which comes from a careful study of God's Word, which is highly helped by listening to good teaching from God's Word.... thus in our church service the most important part of the service is the teaching and application of God's Word, not necessarily the singing. Now please, don't misunderstand me, musical worship is an important part of our services and it's important enough in God's Word that the whole books of Psalms is a book of songs of worship toward our God, BUT it's just a part of the Bible, and not necessarily the most important part.
This whole mentatily of 'worship' being of such importance to some Christians is concerning to me on a few levels:
1. I think that for some people singing brings about an enjoyable emotion and is some kind of an emotional 'high' if you will. Singing powerful songs with hundereds or thousands of other people is fun, it's one reason why people attend concerts. But musical worship shouldn't even be for us. It's for Him.
2. I think that for some, singing worship songs replaces fighting sin in their lives. By this I simply mean that possibly the emotions that come about from singing praises to our God make some Christians feel like they've done their weekly Christian duty and it makes them feel just good enough so that they don't have to do the hard work of being a Christian, growing in righteousness. So they walk out of their weekly church service unchanged by the power of God's Word.
3. It seems to me that we are demonstrating our love of our Savior on a much deeper level when we hear God's Word and obey it and with that will come some songs of praise out of our hearts! It's a natural overflow!
Please don't get me wrong. I love good 'worship' music and I enjoy hearing and participating with it often! But it should never be our driving motivation to attend church. We should go to church to hear God's Word taught, so that we can apply it to our lives, fight our personal sin, and grow to be more and more like our savior. When we do that we'll sing out of a pure heart!